One of the major planks in the Conservative Party of Canada’s election campaign platform has been the elimination of the long-gun-registry. In the mid 1990s the Liberal government foisted this ‘tax’ on law abiding firearms owners and users and since then the registry has proven to be a wasteful expenditure of over a billion taxpayer dollars and an ineffective means of reducing the criminal misuse of long guns.
Calls and emails continue to come in to me to scrap the wasteful long-gun-registry. In our government’s recent speech from the throne, we re-committed to scrapping the registry by announcing our support for Manitoba MP Candice Hoeppner’s private member’s Bill C-391 to abolish the gun registry. Her bill is now at the House of Commons Justice Committee for hearings and clause-by-clause study. It will be reported back to the House of Commons in the coming weeks for a final vote before proceeding to the Senate where it will repeat the process.
Along with the appointment of new Conservative Senators to the Senate of Canada, there has been a restructuring of Senate committees and this will surely assist Conservative government supported legislation that comes to the Senate from the House. The previously Liberal-dominated Senate prevented or delayed passage of numerous bills since 2006, particularly those in the government’s crime-fighting agenda.
Taxpayers know that many lives could have been saved for the well over a billion dollars that has been already spent on the costly long-gun-registry. Front-line police, anti-gun-smuggling units, rehabilitating offenders, diversion programs, and victims’ services are just some of the ‘better places’ this public money should have been spent to deal with firearms-related crime and carnage in Canada’s big cities.
No one ‘relies’ on the long gun registry either. It is well documented that it is fraught with inaccuracies and mismanaged. Police officers are trained to approach every domicile as if there are firearms inside. How many firearms confiscated from street gangs and other organized crime members are registered?
As Bill C-391 proceeds through Parliament, our government has re-extended the current amnesty to help firearms owners comply with the law. This includes: a one-year amnesty to give owners of non-restricted firearms an opportunity to register those firearms and renew expired licences without fear of prosecution; a one-year waiver of the fee for firearms license renewals or upgrades; and, allowing eligible holders of expired Possession-Only Licenses to apply for a new one within a year.
The extension of these measures will prevent the pointless criminalization of non-restricted gun owners who are working to come into compliance. These measures have proven effective in protecting Canadians by making sure that as many gun owners as possible are properly and lawfully licensed. Our government believes that gun control should target criminals, not law-abiding citizens. It should promote safe streets, not penalize the lawful activities of hunters and rural Canadians.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this or previous columns you may write me at 4945-50th Street, Camrose, Alberta, T4V 1P9, call 780-608-4600, toll-free 1-800-665-4358, fax 780-608-4603 or e-mail email@example.com.